The Japanese security ship Shonan Maru No. 2, with armed Japanese Coast Guard on board, entered the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone around Macquarie Island today, chasing Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s long-range ship, the SSS Bob Barker.
The Australian government has officially notified the Japanese government to order the Shonan Maru No. 2 to remain outside of Australian territorial waters.
“Sea Shepherd Australia applauds the Federal Environment Minister, the Honourable Tony Burke, on his quick response to this matter. However the poachers have completely disregarded Australia’s request as an armed vessel of the Government of Japan continues to steam deeper into Australia’s waters in violation of the Australian Federal Court order,” said Sea Shepherd Australia Director Jeff Hansen.
The Japanese whaling fleet has been in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order since 2008 that prohibits them from killing whales in Australian territorial waters.
In spite of the ruling, the Institute for Cetacean Research announced that it intends to illegally kill nearly one thousand minke and fifty endangered fin whales during its 2012/2013 whale-hunting season.
The Bob Barker set a course to Macquarie Island to lose the Shonan Maru No. 2, which is presently tailing them.
Captain of the Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, says: “The Shonan Maru No. 2 is an integral part of the Japanese whaling programme.
On board are armed storm troopers from the Japan Coast Guard whose sole mission is to violently prevent my crew of whale defenders, many of whom are Australian citizens, from upholding Australian domestic law and international law protecting whales.”
2013 marks the first January on record that not a single whale was killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary due to continual monitoring of the whaling fleets. January has always been the peak month for the whale killers.